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Concert Review: Yelle at Royale in Boston, MA

May 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Concert Reviews, Daily Music News

Royale Boston, MA
April 29, 2011

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Reviewed by:  Dorise Gruber

At the Yelle show at Royale on Friday, a bevy of teen girls, gay boys, club kids, and a few straight men whose girlfriends had dragged them along for the ride, arrived mostly with dance pants locked and loaded.  While this was mostly unsurprising given that Yelle is an International (French) Synth Pop sensation, the concert kicked off at 7:00pm and was over by quarter after 9 – I’ve never seen a crowd dancing so hard before the early bird special!

I first discovered Yelle about two years ago when I went in search of entertaining viral videos and was pointed in the direction of one of her debut album hits, “Ce Jeu.”  The video is 80s fab with all kind of fashion trainwrecks (my favorites being the French fry accessories and the enormous cowboy pumpkin puff-sleeve belly-dress).  Despite the wacky style, I can’t help but have a girl crush on Yelle herself (Julie Budet), and with beats so impossibly catchy no dance mix is complete without one of her signature tracks.  In fact, 2007’s Pop-Up has been such a dance staple in my repertoire that I was a little trepidatious about the announcement of 2011’s Safari Disco Club.  One listen to the new single and title track, though, and I was just as hooked on this album as the last.  In fact, it’s made reviewing the concert a little tricky, since I spent more time sweatily busting a move than scribbling in my notepad…

Things from the show worth noting:

  1. Yelle is absolutely one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen.  Appropriately clad in leopard print for the Safari tour, she was limber and gumby-like, outstretching limbs with dramatic flair, the crowd following suit with lifted fingertips and two-handed hearts.  I’m also pretty sure she and Martina Sorbara of Dragonette are long-lost twins, and should co-conspire on an album together immediately.   
  2. Yelle’s two back-up men, GrandMarnier and Tepr, were some of the most active percussionists/synth players I’ve ever seen onstage, especially in full Safari suits.  My companion for the evening (and fellow TWRY writer) Sally Feller described the three onstage with synchronized drumming as “the French Blue Man Group.”  She meant this as a compliment.

  4. I don’t think there was a single body not dancing in the club.  And yes, that includes the straight boys.  People were spilling out of the pit into side-stage dance offs, and by the time Yelle hit the encore with her first ever single, “À Cause Des Garçons,” the crowd was most certainly ready for the after-party.

You don’t need to understand the lyrics to love her – Yelle is the acme of synth-heavy pop music, and going to her show was what I imagine having gone to a dance club in 1985 would’ve been like.  Except, you know, better.

***Side note and small freakin’ world moment: The openers, French Horn Rebellion, a brotherly hipstery electronica duo made up of David and Robert Perlick-Molinari, hit the stage at 7:00 to get the crowd hyped up for Yelle.  While the French horn may be sort of an odd gimmick, considering that Robert went to college on a French horn scholarship, at least he had the appropriate chops to back it up.  The last time I saw Robert Perlick-Molinari, though, was in the year 2000 at a high school talent show, where he played Ben Fold Five’s “Boxing” on piano.  11 years later and 1,000 miles away, opening for Yelle ain’t too bad of a career progression!

Catch Yelle on tour throughout the summer, check out the full list of tour dates here and find out more about Yelle on her official website.

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